Reasons why Alibaba suppliers are often slower to respond when compared to the suppliers on 1688

Even though Alibaba and 1688 are under one company, they both operate with a significant difference. Most Alibaba suppliers are on the whole reasonably quick to respond to new client inquiries as compared to those on 1688 platform. I have mentioned below some of the reasons behind it.

  1. Most of us are aware that the suppliers listed on the platform are traders/middlemen. Hence often these Alibaba suppliers have to contact the factory or 1688 suppliers for updated quotes and details on a new inquiry.
  2. The website is totally in English and designed to cater to the needs of all foreign clients and inquires. Often a lot of Alibaba suppliers are bombarded with many new inquiries from all over the world simultaneously. On top of that, local sourcing and trading companies based in China also use Alibaba as an important tool to source their products. So many times these Alibaba suppliers need to filter clients and inquiries that are more serious to respond to them first. The clients which they feel are still new to import or our just checking the price, they will respond to them after a day or two or sometimes not at all.
  3. Alibaba suppliers should respond as quickly as possible to get good ratings and reviews on their website but 1688 suppliers need to be quicker than that as they are more focused on the local China market and have to respond quickly to inquiries from local retail e-commerce companies like,, and even individual buyers. To rank in the top search results they need good reviews and a positive rating for their website. So, an inquiry comes 1688 suppliers respond quickly and are not bothered to respond even after work hours and on weekends. This boost up their company and website credibility with better ratings and reviews.
  4. A few Alibaba suppliers also have a presence on so they have the luxury of not responding as quickly on their Alibaba page because they feel they are already doing a good job on their page and getting more than enough business for themselves through their platform.
  5. Many Alibaba suppliers don’t take responding on their platform seriously, because often a significant number of these suppliers are also attending exhibitions all over the world including the Canton Fair/Global sources Exhibitions. So, when they start getting enough business from these exhibitions, they become too busy and neglect to respond despite being willing to do so. The company's management decides to give more preference to clients from exhibitions because they are the ones that will confirm some orders with them and also they have to justify the investment they made by attending these exhibitions.
  6. Sometimes a company’s online team for Alibaba is smaller than that of 1688 because 1688 suppliers acquire local and international clients through their page. Hence a lot of suppliers on invest more into sales teams whose can solely focus on client satisfaction on their platform.

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